Perils of AI Recruitment

It's not often I agree with the World Economic Forum. If ever these days.

Yet those illuminati elites at the WEF who wish to suppress us normal folk believe when it comes to career progression, we're losing the human touch.

I read London's The Times Alice Thomson cite Hilke Schellmann, the author of The Algorithm: How AI Can Hijack Your Career and Steal Your Future and an assistant professor at New York University;

'the biggest risk software poses to jobs is not machines taking workers’ positions but AI preventing the best candidates from getting a role at all'.

I've warned about this to a few companies lately. Yet I also fear they discount my alert.

Whether you are like the FTSE100 - for whom a recent survey found all but one used AI to screen candidates - or simply the majority of medium-sized and beyond firms that use some level of algorithm or bot based filtering, I am firm in my belief that the best candidates are routinely not selected for Sales roles.

I know this is highly likely in part because as a test, a CV I created perfectly fitting a role, was declined at first hurdle. One key reason upon analysis found to be because of the atypical format (deliberately) used.

In ye old days, you could pop your application in a brightly coloured envelope to stand out. Someone would take notice. AI sees such moves with their digital equivalent as a reason to reject.

We mustn't return to the dark days when sifters would spend a begrudged afternoon thumbing through a stack of papers simply to dismiss by what is immediately seen in one corner, unless say it had a desired postal address.

Remember the meme mocking the megacorp that entices applicants with visions of their amazing culture. Only to then see how such culture manifests itself on day one. With the bleakest of tiny greige cubicle your eight (and longer) hour daily cell in a sea of soul crushing white collar slavery.

Well, imagine the natural crossover. AI recruits you. To a predetermined, narrow and identikit template. Sellers by numbers. Yet you are the same as your cookie-cutter, disposable newly joining colleagues. Originality is Us! Reminds you of that famous scene in Life of Brian. "Yes, we're all individuals!" Who wants to work at a place like that? Yet that's in danger of becoming pretty much every workplace. 'We don't take the best, but those that game the test'. And a lame test at that.

Stories abound about graduate programme candidates gaming the AI bots. A mini-industry of 'coaches' to help job hopefuls gain such hallowed AI entry is depressingly emerging. Those less financially able or willing use AI themselves to sneak onto the radar. And we know how ᴀɪ v. ᴀɪ ends.

I for one have never once been impressed by what psychometric, profiling or aptitude tests spout. AI hiring at present feels merely the latest unpleasant odour from the same sewer.

Yet there is hope.

The rebalancing essential to prolonged Sales success can occur. The suffocation of being swamped by sheer volumes can still be lifted. Whilst not as is currently the case, settling for a misleading, and ultimately sub-optimal, fit.

AI can be re-programmed.

Being a perpetual 'outsider' myself, I have long advocated connections at the fringes as being those which can turbocharge a path, spark a whole new profitable direction or give fresh purpose to a journey.

It is the residuals, the outliers, those in the ignored whiskers beyond the boxes where difference makers are often found.

Let's tilt away from what Cambridge Uni researchers last year labelled "automated pseudoscience" to recruit right.

I wonder what'd happen if you asked your AI hire-bot (and there seems one major player in this field currently) to filter out all responses to a standard question - such as 'why you want this job', 'what you'd aim to achieve here' or 'your best quality for this role' - which reek of AI involvement?

Could you even trust it?

Ensure you guide it to find the quirky, the different, the 'weirdos and misfits' even.

Then add them alongside your AI mainstream output.

Tell no-one the route.

It's the future. Your future, and theirs.

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